Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs are a classic kid’s dinner. It’s also one of my most requested recipes at www.foodallergymama.com . I can get this dinner on the table in less than thirty minutes, yet it tastes like it simmered all day long. The best part is that the leftover sauce and meatballs can be turned into a fantastic Turkey Meatball Hero.
MEATBALLS: 1 pound dark meat ground turkey (do not use extra-lean) / ¾ cup panko crumbs (you may use gluten-free panko or bread crumbs) / 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning / ¼ teaspoon dried thyme / ½ teaspoon kosher salt / ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper / 2 tablespoons water
SAUCE: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil / 1 small onion, grated / 1 cup grated veggies (I like a combination of carrots and zucchini; omit if your kids aren’t thrilled with the veggies) / 1¾ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning / ¼ teaspoon dried thyme / One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes / One 15-ounce can tomato sauce / 1 tablespoon minced fresh fl at-leaf parsley (optional) / 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil (optional) / Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper / One 16-ounce package allergen-friendly or gluten-free pasta
Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients well. Use your hands to roll mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on the parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, or until no longer pink on the inside.
Meanwhile, heat a large Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat for about 1 minute. Add the oil and grate the onion and/or veggies directly into the pot. Add the Italian seasoning, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley and basil, if using. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, and cook the pasta according to the package directions. When the meatballs come out of the oven, add them to the sauce and simmer for 5 additional minutes. Drain the pasta and pour it into a large bowl; add the meatballs and sauce. Serve with garlic bread and a salad on the side.